It's interesting to think how a radical switch to giving, and investing in the lives of those around me and, ultimately, storing up treasure in heaven, might affect my life. There are so many different aspects I think it might touch if I took the challenge seriously. The following list has no particular order but here's some of the areas I thought of:
1. How would this affect the way I view my money? The past couple of months I have tried to listen to the Spirit's prompting and then gave out of my 'house fund' envelope. It's been so much fun to open my hand and allow some of my little horde to flow out and bless others. I still have money to help buy things for the house but I also feel less of an urge to buy extras that we really don't need because I'm enjoying seeing what ideas God will come up with.
2. How would this affect the way I spend my time? My husband observed that giving, rather than stockpiling, might actually result in men spending less time working and having more time for their families. (I mean, who would constantly work fifty and sixty hours a week just so they could give an extra couple hundred dollars away?) It might eliminate the need for mothers to have outside jobs as well, for the same reason.
3. How might this affect my relationship with God? There is nothing that boosts my faith more than seeing God at work. Listening to His nudge when He prompts me to give makes my relationship with Him feel exciting and alive. (And I'd probably also have more time to spend with Him.)
4. How might this affect my view of 'good stewardship'? Most of us want to be sure our money will be used for the right thing if we give it. I worked hard for that money and if I'm going to give it away I want to be certain it's used correctly - that's only good stewardship! I wonder, am I actually concerned about showing love and care to the person I'm giving to or am I actually more concerned about my money? The ragged man standing on the corner is probably going to find a way to get cigarettes somehow, whether he uses my money or not. Is it possible that my kindness might speak Jesus to his heart, even if my money ends up buying cigarettes or liquor?
5. How might this affect the way I raise my family? I think we leave a huge impact on our children when they see us giving and investing in people, rather than things. Our children pick up very quickly on how important our money and possessions are to us. A lot of that attitude comes through in the amount of value they see us placing on people and relationships.
This 'investing in people' attitude branches out into much more than just giving money. I'll talk about some other ways to give next week.